Who's the boss?
On Wednesday, Jonathan Tobin looked at the consequences of Turkey's putdown
of US Secretary of State John FN Kerry
's efforts to stop Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan from visiting Gaza.
Kerry did the right thing by publicly trying to restrain the Turks
from involving themselves in Palestinian politics. But he did so while
laboring under the false assumption that the friendship between the
American president and the Turkish prime minister was so strong that
Erdoğan’s freelancing in the region was an aberration rather than a
fundamental principle of Ankara’s policy. The blunder here was not in
what he said. But by journeying to Turkey to make the request without
any real idea that it would be respected he demonstrated to everyone in
the region that he was not a force to be reckoned with. Having told
Kerry that Erdoğan’s travel plans are none of his business, any hope of
persuading the Turks to avoid inflaming the situation has been
The point here isn’t that Kerry created a dangerous problem. That was
Erdoğan’s fault. But by blundering about the region and allowing
himself to be first stiffed and then publicly spanked in this manner,
the secretary has diminished his influence as well as that of the United
This is an administration that once turned a minor housing start
announcement in Jerusalem during a visit by Vice President Biden into a
major diplomatic contretemps in which it claimed Netanyahu had insulted
it. But it is now finding out what it really means to be insulted by a
nation that calls itself an American ally, and the result is far from
In the meantime, Hamas is celebrating another foreign policy defeat
for the United States.
In a brief statement from Doha, a copy of which was received by the
Palestinian Information Centre, Haniyeh said: “We welcome the visit of
the Turkish Prime Minister and we appreciate this attitude, which shows
the nobility of Turkey’s leadership and people, and shows its embrace of
and support for the Palestinian cause.” He stressed that the visit
confirmed the time of American domination has ended.
And Erdogan is flaunting his victory.
Erdogan, who has always underlined his desire to visit the Palestinian
enclave, said last week he planned to go to Gaza following an official
visit to the United States in May. “Delaying my trip (to Gaza) is out of
question. As I said in the past the Gaza trip will take place after my
trip to the United States. There will be no delay,” Erdogan told
reporters, according to state media.
What could go wrong?
Labels: Gaza, Hamas, John Kerry, Recep Tayyip Erdogan